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An organization with international allure

Reintegration team leader, Saïda Kleefstra Abdennabi, fully enjoys her work, in which her life experience and extensive work experience come in handy. She tells the story of one of her first clients who, after working for eight years in the cleaning industry, ended up in a track 2 route due to limitations. “I discovered that he had an excellent background, with a lot of studies and experience. Only the language barrier was a problem. He now sits on a leather chair behind his desk and works in an IT company. It gives so much satisfaction to help non-native speakers on their way! Especially within reintegration, because we empower people again.”

She loves the great variety in tasks and in people she is allowed to supervise. “Diversity in the workplace is extremely important; for both employees and society”, says the assertive lady who has worked for many multinationals in the past. “The main language has always been English. Abtro is a Dutch organization with international allure. We communicate in the Dutch language, but I also get a lot of opportunity to speak French and Arabic. People are often pleasantly surprised when you speak to them in their native language. That immediately breaks the ice.”

Since January 2022, Saïda has also been responsible for quality management. “My strongest point is identifying bottlenecks and areas for improvement so that we can operate even more efficiently as a team.” She likes to work in a team, likes to encourage and support colleagues. “It is wonderful to see how someone grows in their role in a few months and how they become more and more professional. The atmosphere in the office is very family-like. Dutch culture is represented, but also Turkish, Polish and Arab. So nice to see with how much respect and sincere interest we treat each other. It is an informal setting where everyone can learn from and with each other and learn to look at everything and everyone with an open, empathetic view.”


Nothing but praise for multiculturalism

He has nothing but praise for multiculturalism at the only reintegration agency specialized in counseling and mediation of job seekers who speak a different language. “Diversity and inclusivity are at the heart of ABTRO. It is a great, pure force with which the goal – guiding multilingual talent to suitable work – is achieved,” he says. “As a Muslim, that makes me proud and grateful.”

Azzeddine Loukili exchanges his employment at ABTRO for self-employment. From March 2022, he will use his great care heart as a self-employed person for ambulatory care guidance. He looks back on his time as a multilingual reintegration consultant with pleasure and gratitude. “I learned a lot and gained a lot of experience at ABTRO. I have experienced that knowledge of other languages, cultures and customs is necessary to make real contact, to create a good connection with people of different ethnic backgrounds.”

He has nothing but praise for multiculturalism at the only reintegration agency specialized in counseling and mediation of job seekers who speak a different language. “Diversity and inclusivity are at the heart of ABTRO. It is a great, pure force with which the goal – guiding multilingual talent to suitable work – is achieved,” he says. “As a Muslim, that makes me proud and grateful.”

Azzeddine explains that by listening and communicating with understanding, you can achieve a lot. “And if you ever get stuck, colleagues and managers are always ready to support you. The internal communication and collegiality at ABTRO are very strong; a good example of how it should be done. I will cherish that for the rest of my life. The multicultural attitude, openness, which is woven into everything, has enriched me as a people person.”


The sum is greater than the whole of its parts

Elif Civan enjoys going to work 32 hours a week at the head office in De Meern. She has been working for Abtro reintegration agency for over a year and a half, where she is the first point of contact at the secretariat to assist customers and clients with general questions and administrative matters. “I learn a lot here, about reintegration but also about my field. Compared to my previous jobs, I now have more responsibilities and feel more involved. The warm welcome made me feel right at home and that comes with a sense of loyalty. We are a very diverse and close-knit team.”

By diverse, Elif means that everyone in the secretariat has a different ethnic background, which in her view is a cultural enrichment. She herself belongs to the third generation, her grandparents came to the Netherlands from the Istanbul region. She definitely feels both Dutch and Turkish. “That feeling is fifty-fifty. I grew up here, went to school and raised Turkish at home. Whichever way you look at it, my roots are in Turkey, partly because of my faith.”

The cheerful, spontaneous secretary sees multiculturalism as a great advantage. “The sum is greater than the whole of its parts. For me, the gain is mainly in the language skills, in the communication with which I can build bridges between both worlds; can connect people.”

And that is exactly what Abtro reintegration agency does. Helping non-native speakers to find their way and their place within Dutch society. It makes Elif proud to be able to contribute to this. “In this way I contribute to a bi-cultural society in which everyone should be equal and diversity the norm.”

She greatly appreciates that Abtro reintegration agency is setting an example in this. “After all, it’s one of the few agencies that explicitly focuses on this,” she says. “And that while it has been proven that diversity in the workplace is of great added value. Experience shows that teams and departments grow in resilience, creativity, collegiality and faster switching, so that problems are solved quickly. We are living proof!”


A well-groomed and professional business card

At the secretariat, Aleksandra Krzyzanowska keeps all matters in order regarding planning trajectories, appointments and evaluation interviews. She also manages the diaries of all reintegration consultants. She is the rock in the surf that ensures that the business runs smoothly. “I work very accurately, I have a sharp eye for details and I like it when everything is up-to-date. I want to present a well-maintained and professional business card of Abtro reintegration agency to the outside world. That's why I double check everything."

Aleksandra says she doesn’t have to do much crisis management. Structured and pragmatic as she is, the secretary ensures that she performs her duties well. “I create clarity and overview, which prevents calamities. Of course, sometimes an appointment has to be rescheduled, but that is no problem at all.”

In her view, the bi-cultural workplace offers extra opportunities for self-development. “We learn from each other’s customs, norms and values. I really appreciate that, because it gives you a much broader perspective in contact with others. We encourage each other to further develop our competencies”, she concludes with satisfaction. “Abtro reintegration agency is a transparent organization. The management is always open to initiatives from colleagues and is always willing to start a conversation.”

She also sees corporate social responsibility as a big plus. “We work with vulnerable people at a distance from the labor market, who often struggle with multiple disabilities and challenges. Sometimes they face life-changing choices. It gives such a grateful feeling to be able to support them in this. It’s a beautiful instrument. The more positive, happy people in the right place in terms of work, the more positive and happier our society will be.”

“I am happy to be a small piece of the puzzle in this socially engaged mission,” continues the extroverted woman who has a Polish background. “I myself also participated in our group activities and language training. It’s nice to see that customers are really helped with this and even want to continue to understand the language and culture even better. You can see that as a team we also gain knowledge and share knowledge; everything to continuously raise the objective of Abtro reintegration agency to a higher level. I like working here.”


Everyone is seen and appreciated here for who they are

Sanne Molleman, who supports the secretariat and relieves the reintegration team, is an expert by experience. When she reaches a low point in her life, she builds up a pleasant relationship with her consultant from Abtro reintegration agency. The head office even becomes her work experience place, which subsequently results in an employment contract. She looks back on that period with gratitude, now about two and a half years ago. “My consultant really listened, gave me all the time and good guidance. Thanks to the sincere interest, I dared to be myself and to speak out when I disagreed with something.”

She explains that, thanks to this organization, she has a future perspective and her dreams become reality. “I have a house, work, study at Schoevers training and have a social life again. Thanks to the safe setting and the individual attention I have experienced within Abtro, I have been able to embrace my limitations,” says the Utrecht woman. “I have such a good, fun time here, with lovely colleagues. Everyone is seen and appreciated for who they are.”

According to her, the diversity adds an extra beautiful dimension. “We support each other and pass on foreign-speaking customers to those who can speak to them in their native language. That makes the solidarity even stronger.” The blond lady is very grateful to her colleagues and management for the nice ‘Abtro years’ and the push they have given her. “I could never have achieved this without Abtro. This way of coaching is very special and special.”

For her, Abtro reintegration agency is the springboard to a new future. “I have learned so much about my competencies and how I can use them, much more insight into my pluses and minuses. I’ve grown a lot here. Although I had no work experience as a secretary, Abtro gave me the opportunity and guided me in my personal development. Partly because of this, I can now focus much better on my goals.”


Abtro feels like home and the organization is rock solid

Yeliz Mete has been working as an independent reintegration consultant since November 2021. Entrepreneurship suits her very well. “I am so glad I took this step. I now have a number of regular clients, including Abtro reintegration agency. I work about two full days a week for this organization, mainly taking care of UWV processes and a number of track 2 reintegration processes.”

She thinks it’s a nice combination. “It’s a great club that feels very familiar. We share the same objective and everything is well organised: clear agreements, clear division of tasks, a lot of freedom and at the same time great involvement from both sides. Abtro feels like home and the organization is rock solid!”

She especially likes to see the cases on her desk, which are thought to be unfeasible. “Delicious! There is a path to suitable work for everyone. No one is superfluous in the labor market.” Coming up with creative solutions to find that proverbial hook that catches someone makes Yeliz very happy. “You can call me up at night for that,” she laughs, “working from passion is the best thing there is.”

Yeliz was born and raised in the Noordoostpolder and lives in Zwolle. Her parents are originally from Turkey. Her parents come “Through my work I can contribute to a harmonious bi-cultural society. Just like Abtro reintegration agency, I think that’s important. In the Netherlands as much is possible; Where there’s a will there is a way. My caseload also shows that everyone can take steps.” originally from Turkey.

She explains that, especially with non-native speakers who do not have sufficient command of the language in word and writing, you have to start at the beginning. “It’s my job to break through the fear, to clearly explain the rights and obligations, to stimulate self-confidence and – at the very least – to motivate doing it. It gives such a great feeling when there is movement. Then I can guide these people into stable, self-confident workers. I love my job.”

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